Investing in emerging causes


Effective giving begins with understanding our most desired outcomes. By exploring our personal values and establishing priorities, we reveal the potential direction of our giving. At Tipping Point, we most desire that our giving achieve its greatest potential, leading us to prioritize breadth and permanence of impact when choosing among many worthy options.

Equally important to us is scaling our dreams to match our means. As modest contributors, we recognize the limited impact our giving would have on well-funded causes, and instead direct our investments toward emerging and underserved causes that can best use our resources. By fostering these high potential causes today, we preserve their breakthrough solutions of tomorrow, maximizing the potential good we do with our giving.

Because potential impact is at the core of our investment strategy, we employ our collective business acumen to evaluate operational viability of target charities, and to understand the mechanisms by which they intend to achieve their goals. Because of our emphasis on impact scope and permanence, we also consider a cause’s influence potential through education and public policy.


Determining the greatest good that can be done with limited resources is a challenge requiring extensive research and methodical processes. We began by invoking the “magic wand” approach, defining the outcomes we most desired, stated in the broadest terms possible. They are:

    • Preserving the future: Using science and technology to avoid natural or man-made cataclysmic events, ensuring inhabitability for current and future generations of all species.
    • Valuing all life equally: Instilling a philosophy of guardianship, not exploitation, of other species.
    • Maximizing the quality of all life: The elimination of suffering for all species.

While such broadly stated outcomes can make most any charitable cause seem relevant, their value is in providing clarity of intention, so that competing solutions can be compared for effectiveness at achieving the desired result.

To narrow our efforts we create a series of supporting objectives for each desired outcome that, if achieved, advance progress toward that outcome. In turn, strategies are applied to each of these objectives to maximize possible contribution toward their achievement. The resulting model is illustrated below.


The critical factor in maximizing impact is in developing strategies that make best use of the funds available.  These strategies acknowledge spending limits, yet identify methods that significantly impact supporting objectives, and, by extension, intended outcomes.  Knowing that the best strategies match strength with opportunity, we make use of this philosophy whenever considering them.   As a result, our strategies often leverage concentrated distribution methods, such as education and public policy, and target emerging causes needing short-term support to preserve their long-term potential.